Honeywell and Weatherford Partner to Deliver an Emissions Management Solution

Emissions management relates to many things. Ecology, cleaning the environment, climate change. In an industrial context, I think it is the essence of Lean—reduction of waste. That is a business value as well as other values. Honeywell has added many products and services over the past few years. This one is interesting.

Honeywell and Weatherford on May 9 announced a partnership to deliver a comprehensive emissions management solution for the energy industry. The agreement combines Honeywell’s emissions management suite with Weatherford’s Cygnet SCADA platform, providing customers with a powerful tool to monitor, report, and take measures to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, flammable hydrocarbons, and other potentially dangerous and toxic gases.

The integrated solution enables upstream oil and gas operators to track emissions data in near real-time, identify and address potential issues, and meet regulatory requirements. The collaboration also provides customers with access to advanced analytics and reporting capabilities, helping them make data-driven decisions to reduce emissions, improve environmental performance and meet their environmental goals.

The collaboration is part of Honeywell’s broader effort to help the energy industry reduce its environmental footprint. In addition, it also further supports Honeywell’s alignment of its portfolio with three compelling megatrends, including the energy transition.

Hexagon Partners with Microsoft Using Cloud Technology for Team Collaboration

Partnering with Microsoft continues to be an important part of manufacturing software development. This news is from Hexagon partnering with Microsoft to integrate engineering with Microsoft 365 to foster data collaboration among engineers. There’s a lot of marketing overkill in the release, but the essence is they hope to improve innovation through engineers and designers using improved collaboration tools.

  • Hexagon has contributed significantly to the open-source Fluid Framework data architecture that connects any manufacturing system and will integrate with Microsoft 365 creating agile, simplified workflows and productive collaboration using engineering and productivity software
  • Hexagon will roll-out applications that integrate the Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service to empower experienced employees to be more productive and assist less skilled users
  • These innovations form a significant foundation for new real-time co-engineering applications that combine Hexagon’s digital twin technologies with Microsoft Azure

Hexagon and Microsoft have partnered closely on the development and scaling of the open-source Fluid Framework and Azure Fluid Relay service to support the real-time sharing of data across a wide range of manufacturing industry processes and systems, allowing data created in one system to be immediately available to any other person or machine operating in another. Under the new partnership, the Microsoft 365 ecosystem will plug into this data layer, enabling customers to connect their day-to-day office documents and processes with manufacturing tools. This gives teams the freedom to innovate with the tools they already use; for example, tooling cost data from a Microsoft Excel worksheet could be easily shared with a CAM programmer, so simplifying work practices and decision-making between roles.

Microsoft Teams calls can become interactive working sessions, with CAD, simulations or metrology point clouds seamlessly visualised from the source data to allow on-the-spot collaboration and fast, iterative teamwork across disparate engineering and manufacturing functions. Hexagon has already demonstrated this capability in its 3D Whiteboard Nexus tool, which is also now available as an native app in Teams.

Hexagon is working with Microsoft to integrate generative AI models into its manufacturing software, helping users to make better use of their capabilities and analysing existing datasets to learn and suggest the best practices for achieving desired outputs. These AI experiences include contextual advisors, offering expert users productivity-boosting automation while also helping new users to upskill faster and achieve good results with less supervision – a valuable tool as the industry faces a growing skills shortage in many essential roles.

Growing Into Mediocrity

I devoted Tuesday this week to exploring Automate, the robot/vision/automation trade show produced by A3. Six miles of walking and many conversations later, a sense of the state of the industry and a few of the players visited me.

One thing to note was where consolidation is and has taken place. The cobot revolution has matured with the small innovative companies acquired by large corporations. 

Interesting to delve further into Rockwell Automation’s latest strategy by visiting Otto, the autonomous mobile robot company recently acquired. It is going deeper into discrete manufacturing rather than broader into other technologies—sort of the opposite of Siemens. I wonder if that reflects on the differences of the American and German markets.

Conversations with Beckhoff Automation, Inductive Automation, and Opto 22 revealed how companies can be successful without selling out to a huge corporation. Independents like these still have a place in the market.

Thinking about the market consolidation of the past say five years, I saw this piece from technology writer, thinker, and former VC, Om Malik. I remember reading his columns in Red Herring maybe 20 years ago and have followed his work ever since. Here are some thoughts he had reflecting on Apple’s recent iPad event and the resulting ad. These thoughts are relevant to our market. Think of companies you know who are in the incremental improvement stage.

Apple is no longer making iconic products that are trying to find their place in our lives through clever messaging. The Crush ad is the output of a mega-company that still doesn’t realize that it permeates all aspects of our modern lives, including our retirement plans. When you are as large as Apple (or any other Big Tech giant,) mediocrity of action creeps into every aspect of your business.

Now it is trying to be a company that has to keep selling the newer, more incremental versions of those products to keep growing, so long as it can feed the quarterly earnings monster. It has to keep the stock flying high. Apple is now a $2.75 trillion company — and it has to do everything it can to keep itself there in that elite club. It is getting harder and harder.

Apple is not alone. Its big tech peers Amazon and Google are finding growth much more challenging. They are doing things that make them less likable by the day. And like them, Apple too, is primed to stumble! 

Next DLP Announces First Security Solution to Automatically Map to MITRE’s Insider Threat Knowledge Base

Cybersecurity updates and news continue to fill my inbox. This one combines the trend toward working together for the common good.

Next DLP (“Next”), a leader in data loss prevention and insider threat solutions, announced that their Reveal Platform is the first Insider Risk Management solution to automatically map detection events to MITRE Engenuity Center for Threat-Informed Defense’s (“Center”) expanded Insider Threat Knowledge Base (ITKB 2.0). The ITKB 2.0 is the first of its kind to offer an evidence-based, multi-organizational, and publicly-available compendium of insider threat tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs). This endeavor was developed in partnership between MITRE, Next DLP, CrowdStrike, HCA Healthcare, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., Lloyds Banking Group, Microsoft Corporation and Verizon Business. 

Digital transformation and hybrid workforces have significantly increased the complexity and volume of insider threats organizations face. Legacy solutions often require extensive manual effort to correlate detection events with specific threat behaviors, resulting in delayed responses, potential security breaches, and data leaks. Reveal addresses this challenge head-on by automatically including MITRE’s Techniques, Tactics, and Procedures (TTPs) in its detections, incidents, and analyst case reports. 

“The expansion and refinement of our data repository was made possible by new cases and insights from our dedicated data contributors,” said Suneel Sundar, Director R&D, of the Center. “We’re delighted that Next is leveraging our knowledge of adversary behaviors and capabilities to provide defenders with a better opportunity to detect malicious insiders.”

By incorporating MITRE’s TTPs Reveal delivers a comprehensive narrative of the entire incident lifecycle, from initial reconnaissance and data collection to defense evasion and exfiltration. For the chronically overstretched Security team—a persistent problem given the ongoing security talent shortage—this rich information view maximizes the efficiency of analyst resources, empowering security teams of all sizes to perform at heightened levels.

“With Reveal, and in partnership with MITRE CTID, we are setting a new standard for data protection and insider threat mitigation,” said John Stringer, Head of Product at Next DLP. “By automating the mapping of detections to MITRE’s Insider Threat TTPs, we enhance our clients’ security posture by demonstrating MITRE ATT@CK coverage and significantly reducing the time and resources required to identify, respond to and report on high-impact insider threat activity.”

The MITRE Engenuity Center for Threat-Informed Defense is a non-profit, privately funded research and development organization operated by MITRE Engenuity. The Center’s mission is to advance the state of the art and the state of the practice in threat-informed defense globally. Composed of participant organizations from around the globe with highly sophisticated security teams, the Center builds on MITRE ATT&CK, an important foundation for threat-informed defense used by security teams and vendors in their enterprise security operations. Because the Center operates for the public good, outputs of its research and development are available publicly and for the benefit of all. For more information, contact [email protected].  

Quickbase Expands Capabilities to Connect, Collaborate and Get Work Done 

I’ve recently learned about a software company called Quickbase. [Disclaimer: I do have a business relationship, but they do not dictate what I write.] I’ve written a couple of items just a couple of months ago. Their virtual conference called Empower will be held Wednesday, May 9. You can hear me as part of a panel presentation beginning at 11:15 EDT.

This update will be explained during the keynotes of the conference. Quickbase is a software application platform for “dynamic work management” featuring no code/low code application. This update, in brief, features cleaner user experience, enhanced AI and mobile capabilities, and out-of-the-box governance controls help everyone deliver impact.

In the new dynamic way of working, organizations must stay nimble, adaptable, and responsive to the non-structured, multi-stakeholder, and highly collaborative way we all work today. This is especially true for operationally driven, complex industries like construction, manufacturing, and others that operate in a world where physical work and digital solutions must coexist to drive projects. These industries have been underserved by technology for decades or have been slower to adopt new tech solutions.  

Using AI, an improved user experience, easier access to mobile forms to capture data and information, and enhanced governance controls, Quickbase is delivering on its vision to connect data, workflows, teams, and projects together to get custom solutions up and running with minimal clicks for the way people and organizations need and want to work, at the speed and scale of their projects, customers, and competition.  

“Most technology solutions are rooted in old ways of working that don’t fit today’s world of dynamic work,” said Ed Jennings, CEO of Quickbase. “Work has changed, and with it the expectations for the tools and technology used to get work done. Speed, scale and customization are priorities, with a depth of vertical specialization and ability to connect to your core systems, all at significantly lower levels of investment. This is the foundation of our platform, focused on easy to use, expert-built solutions with just a few clicks, fully customized to the way you want to work.” 

Highlights:

AI Integration for Faster Building of Solutions, Reports & Integrations – Since the addition of AI-powered capabilities to the Quickbase platform in October 2023, more than 4,500 unique business apps have been built by 2,800 beta users for a variety of use cases, from project management to logistics and invoice management, even solar panel installations. Now, with AI fully-integrated into its platform, users can build fully functional solutions, reports, workflows, and integration in just a few clicks, simply by telling Quickbase’s AI Smart Builder what problem they are trying to solve – no technical expertise required. 

A Whole New Quickbase User Experience – a fresher and faster way to get work done, from creating to managing to iterating and sharing solutions, reducing the amount of clicking and scrolling Gray Work that could slow them down. Users now have a cleaner global menu and redesigned dashboards, putting every action at their fingertips, with enhanced collaboration and communication controls to share and track information; a powerful library of solution-specific applications and formulas, components, and integrations; and quick actions to surface actionable intelligence across the platform. 

Unified Mobile Experience – Since the acquisition of FastField in June 2023, Quickbase has continued to add new capabilities and streamline the creation of forms and capturing of information on job sites, shop floors and other environments where that data is critical to enhancing productivity, compliance, and safety. Now, by adding in-app form building and faster access to FastField in the Quickbase global menu, new and existing users alike can take advantage of FastField to easily build new forms using existing tables and workflows; manage their account and workflows; and access and share critical information throughout their teams and organizations. 

Governance that Supports Customization, Speed and Scale – Quickbase enables organizations to enhance their approach to governance by delivering the speed and flexibility of a typical point solution with platform-level controls with the assurance that solutions stay aligned with business needs and IT policies related to compliance, privacy, and control. This new set of solution application programming interfaces (APIs) supports the continuous improvement and deployment of business-critical solution, giving IT and business leaders confidence that existing application lifecycle management (ALM) requirements are in place across the entire lifecycle of their apps. 

“Our customers have told us again and again that the most important thing any solution should do for them is to help them get work done, faster,” said Debbi Roberts, senior vice president, Product at Quickbase. “We’ve taken that to heart, building our platform with a vision that everyone should be able to do their work in the way that fits them best, creating workflows that reflect exactly how they want to get work done. Our new capabilities realize that promise of powerful, easy to use, intuitive, and customizable solutions to enable everyone to make a quick and lasting impact to their business.” 

FieldComm Group and FDT Group Explore Strategic Business Collaboration

A merger of these industrial communication protocol organizations is probably overdue, but certainly timely. As the industrial technology marketplace matures further consolidation makes sense. Each organization has achieved many advancements helping engineers and operations professionals do a better job. Most of the development work is done. It’s time to do more evangelizing and convince more companies to invest in the technologies.

After years of close collaboration, these two leading global standards-based non-profit entities have executed a term sheet to combine resources into a single business focused on creating device integration technology standards and products serving the user and vendor communities of industrial process, hybrid, and factory automation.

FieldComm Group and FDT Group are pleased to announce the completion of a term sheet outlining a plan to create a single business aimed at advancing integration technology and harmonizing control system applications across multiple protocol topologies supporting both process and factory automation. Subject to the completion of a definitive agreement, the new business will continue to support all existing FieldComm Group and FDT Group technologies, including Field Device Integration (FDI), Field Device Tool / Device Type Manager (FDT/DTM), Process Automation Device Information Model (PA-DIM), HART, and FOUNDATION Fieldbus. FieldComm Group will acquire all FDT technology and resources, and an independent Strategic Integration Committee will be formed to guide future directions for protocol-independent device integration technologies.

This strengthened relationship represents a significant step forward in streamlining process automation and factory manufacturing device management, enhancing interoperability throughout the industry. The unified organization is pioneering a transformative vision where industrial device management seamlessly bridges the present and future, ensuring support for the current installed base while facilitating evolution towards harmonized technologies.

This particular strategic integration idea is also long overdue. I’m happy to see this initiative. These mini-battles among major automation suppliers trying to tie customers to proprietary systems has long been a thorn in customers’ sides.

The new Strategic Integration Committee focused on a protocol-agnostic device integration approach will foster alliances with major field protocol organizations, including CC-Link Partner Association, EtherCAT Technology Group, FieldComm Group, ODVA, OPC Foundation, Modbus, Profibus/Profinet International, and others, spearheading innovations to improve engineering efficiency, plant uptime, and user satisfaction across various industrial automation fields. Within this strategic committee, cutting-edge technologies, tools, and certifications will streamline cost-effective adoption for members while providing a single device package compatible with any operating system that will enable effortless data access from field devices to cloud, edge, and mobile applications. This initiative promotes comprehensive integration between Information Technology and Operational Technology (IT/OT) systems.

“This collaboration is a strategic move aimed at providing the best service to our members and the industry at large,” emphasized Ted Masters, President and Chief Executive Officer of FieldComm Group. Steve Biegacki, Managing Director of FDT Group, echoed this sentiment, highlighting that “the enhanced harmonization of standards and technologies will significantly empower end users and manufacturers in their quest to achieve out-of-the-box Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) capabilities across their systems.”

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